I witnessed something today that I consider a remarkable privilege. It was as if I travelled back in time to colonial New England. And it happened here in the middle of the epicenter if technological development and advancement.

I’m in Los Angeles at Grace Church for the Shepherds’ Conference along with 3,000-plus other pastors, and mid sermon the power went out. The place went black with only emergency lights dimly shining in the cavernous brick auditorium that is Grace Church.

What did John MacArthur do? He grabbed a flashlight and just kept on preaching. He didn’t flinch. He was unflappable.  He literally just kept going. His voice grew with intensity as he unpacked the covenant of redemption. Soon his voice was traveling powerfully to every corner of the room.

Without being trite, let me just say, it was awesome. I felt like I was in an auditorium in Geneva with men leaning in to hear each word Calvin spoke or out in a field in western Massachusettes to hear Whitfield. Dr MacArthur just went on preaching Christ. In Spurgeon fashion he powerfully pleaded with pastors to preach Christ or stop preaching.

Since the power outage prevents access to his words, I’ll give you snippet here:

I just wish that the church would lift up Christ. If anyone would tag your church let it be this, “They were ever and always exalting Christ” you and your church should be known for robust Christology. Do you want to know the secret to Grace Church? These people keep be holding the glory of Christ and they have been and are being transformed! That’s the answer. When I watch TV preachers I yell at the TV. “Stop!! Give them Christ!” A truncated Christology does not help anyone. Men, you need to care less about what people want to hear and more about what they need to hear. Give them Christ.

This power outage served as an illustration for us. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from preaching Christ! What a surprising blessing and timely lesson this was. I’m thankful for the providential feeling of going back in time, while being  greatly encouraged to keep plodding along in faithfulness.

Update: in talking with Phil Johnson today he let me know that the quick thinking pastor Mark Dever grabbed his iPhone and captured the scene described above. Take a listen below:

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5 thoughts on “What do you do when the power goes out? Keep preaching Christ.”

  1. Reminds me of one of the chapel sermons at BJU. One of my favorite professors, Dr. Greg Mazak, was preaching and the power went out (had a lot of those that year). We were in the FMA, so no windows, only emergency lighting and no amplification. Yet after the gasp we still hear him speaking! Of course everyone laughed. Guess his lecture hall had the same issue from time to time.

    And yes, we shouldn’t let anything stop our message.

  2. Dan Sudfeld says:

    I feel privileged to have witnessed this too. Good synopsis, Erik.

  3. Scott "Knox" says:

    A great story of great preacher. Was it at the chapel, or in the large auditorium? The auditorium is huge!

  4. Peter Lim says:

    It was in the large auditorium. Awesome!

  5. Cyrus Woo says:

    Amen. Well said!

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Erik Raymond

Erik Raymond is senior pastor of Emmaus Bible Church in Omaha, Ne. He and his wife Christie have six children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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